Mumbai: Clamor for justice to the victims and their families, who were directly or indirectly affected in the the December 1992/January1993 post Babri Masjid demolition anti-Muslim riots, growing louder after Yakub Memon's hanging Thursday.
“These areas are closed to send out a message that law and order should apply to everyone, not just the minority community“, Mozzam Qureshi, who owns a shop in Mumbai's Bori Mohalla, is quoted as saying by a local newspaper.
Qureshi was referring to the voluntary shutdown witnessed in Null Bazaar, Bohri Mohalla, Dongri and parts of Dharavi and Kurla areas after news spread about the execution of Yakub Memon, convicted for his role in the 1993 serial blasts.
The series of blasts, at about 12 prominent places in Mumbai, on Friday March 12, 1993 had left 257 people dead, and many others injured.
“The Supreme Court judgment in the Memon case is correct, but there are cases pending regarding the 1992-93 riots, whose dates are constantly postponed, and this causes a lot of suffering", Qureshi added.
Perpetrators of the Babri Masjid demolition and 1992/93 Mumbai riots going scot-free remained a bone of contention also for a good number of non-Muslims.
“The Babri Masjid demolition was the key trigger, but we are not going after those culprits. My problem is not the hanging, but the double standards. Why should not we be going after perpetrators of the riots if we are so serious about justice?“ Rishi Aggarwal, an environmental activist, asked.
The Supreme Court of India sealed the fate of Yakub Memon, who pleaded innocence till the very last moment of his hanging, with prosecutors arguing that the death sentence is necessary looking at the role the accused had played in the crime, and for justice to the blast victims.
Hours after Memon was hanged in the Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reiterated his stand saying, "Justice has prevailed for the families of those who lost their lives in the 1993 Mumbai blasts."
However, question taking round is why the government is not considering for the 1992/1993 riot victims on the same ground. The riot, worst in the history of Mumbai, had left over 2000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.
Srikrishna panel formed after the riot indicted police officers and politicians belonging to Shiv Sena and other right wing Hindu parties in the riot. However, a one or two conviction giving minor punishment, majority of the accused were let off.
After Yakub hanging political parties too joined the chorus for justice to the riot victims, and implementations of the recommendations made by panels formed after the violence.
Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president reitereated his demand to bring to book those responsible for the Mumbai riots.
"Why were only three persons convicted. What about their closure, what about their justice in the Mumbai riots case of 1992-93, in which 900 people were killed," Owaisi said.
CPI(M) too demanded stringent action against those responsible for the 1992 riots in the western metropolis, saying these communal incidents were a "causative" factor for the blasts.
"Law has taken its course in the Yakub case. But the same determination should be shown for other cases as well to maintain unity and sovereignty of the country," CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Thursday.
Referring to the Justice Srikrishna Committee report on the communal riots and the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, he said it has pointed out that the blasts were the result of the communal incidents after the Babri Masjid demolition.
"The Srikrishna panel report "clearly states that the communal riots in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition were the causative factor for the blasts in Mumbai," he said.
"The report has also said that the Memon family suffered extensively in these riots. Foreign powers used them to carry out the blasts.
"Yakub was hanged because of the Mumbai blasts, but then what action has been taken against those responsible for the communal violence in Mumbai and elsewhere after the Babri Masjid demolition," the CPI(M) leader asked.
The justice delivery system must not only be impartial, but should be seen to be impartial so as to retain the people's confidence in it, Yechury said.
Yechury also charged the government with "going slow in the Hindutva terrorism cases like Malegaon or Samjhauta Express blasts or in the case of (former Gujarat Minister) Maya Kodnani (an accused in the 2002 Gujarat riots case)."
"This is not delivery of justice. ... Justice must be equal to all. If you are bringing to justice one side, the other side should not be ignored. The justice delivery system must rise above partiality," the CPI(M) leader said.
Observing that terror had no religion, he said "Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic, Indira Gandhi was shot dead by a Sikh fanatic and and Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE. So terrorism is not confined to one religion or region."
The Urdu media in their editorials published Thursday also demanded justice for the 1992/1993 Mumbai riots. the Urdu press also demanded justice for victims of the 1992-93 communal riotsin the city and other terror acts in the country.
While asking people to accept the Supreme Court's verdict upholding death sentence to Yakub Memon, the editorial of local Urdu daily Inquilab demanded that a section of the people will remain restless unless the guilty of 1992-93 riots are brought to book.
Inquilab also hoped the President and the Supreme Court would take Suo Moto action so that the victims of the 1992/93 Mumbai riots get justice.
The Urdu Times's editorial, Supreme Court Ke Do Faisle (Two verdicts of the SC), analyzed the import of Thursday's verdicts on appeal for turning life imprisonment of former PM Rajiv Gandhi's killers into death penalty and the plea to turning Memon's death sentence into life imprisonment.
The paper also appealed to the judiciary to do justice in other terror cases and give verdicts that will strengthen people's belief in its impartiality .
“Justice should not be to satisfy the majority's conscience but to uphold truth and fairness", Urdu Times said in its editorial.